By Caitlin Choveaux
We've all heard of the generous cotton-tailed, egg-laying rabbit who visits once a year, leaving behind a trail of chocolate goodness for kids to find on Easter morning.
Have you ever wondered who invented such a bizarre idea to begin with?
There is a clue in the well-known saying "they multiplied like rabbits".
As flowers bloomed and chickens hatched, the Eostre festival, from which our word Easter is derived, celebrated the start of the spring season and symbolised rebirth and renewal of life in Northern Europe.
The goddess of fertility, Eostre, was closely associated with the symbols of the hare and the egg.
German writings from the 15th century later documented Oschter Haws, a rabbit believed to lay coloured eggs as gifts for good children in keeping with pagan beliefs.
As the tradition grew, Oschter Haws migrated to America with Dutch settlers in the 1700s, and slowly evolved into the Easter Bunny we know today.
We can also thank the Germans for incorporating chocolate bunnies into the tradition during the 1800s.
These cultural traditions and festivals of the time also mixed with the Christians' celebration of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection.
Christians adopted the hollow chocolate Easter egg as a symbol of the empty tomb of Christ, representing His resurrection after His sacrificial death on Good Friday.
While it is clear that the Easter bunny was made from myth, the Biblical and historical records of Christ's death and resurrection suggest this originated from more than just legend.
God coming as a man, Jesus, to take humanity's punishment for their sins and then rising from the dead might sound as far-fetched as a chocolate egg-laying rabbit but have you really considered it?
Professor Thomas Arnold, the former chair of history at Oxford University and author of the famous volumes titled History of Rome, once stated: "I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, than the great sign which God has given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead."
After investigating the evidence of the resurrection for himself, Lord Darling, former Chief Justice of England, stated, "...there exists such overwhelming evidence, positive and negative, factual and circumstantial, that no intelligent jury in the world could fail to bring in a verdict that the resurrection story is true."
The Easter bunny was born from the cultural celebrations of new life and birth but the theme's significance is not lost as Christians celebrate God's astonishing act of love over 2000 years ago.
Now that you are better acquainted with the roots of the rabbit, perhaps it is time to follow the trail of clues that lead to Christ. A great place to start is in the Bible and the gospels of the New Testament.
After all, your assortment of chocolate eggs will last a moment in the mouth but eternal life is a free gift that lasts forever.